Paul Kane's work acknowledged the aboriginal foundations of North American
culture 150 years ago. Visions from the Wilderness: The Art
of Paul Kane examines his insight.
one-hour documentary profiles the fascinating and paradoxical life
of North American landscape and portrait artist, Paul Kane. A mix
of art, history, and exploration, Visions from the Wilderness: The
Art of Paul Kane examines the conflicting opinions about the historic
and artistic value of Kane’s artwork. Kane travelled a continent
to document a changing world, but then succumbed to the tastes of
his audience when presenting his final work. Through his story, the
documentary reveals the role artists play in relaying our history,
and how their art is shaped by the cultural influences of their day.
In 1846, Paul Kane hitched a ride west, via the fur-trade brigades to document
what he believed to be the last remains of Native North American life "untainted" by
European influence. However, when Kane returned to his Toronto studio in
1848, he largely embraced the Eurocentric idea of the "Noble Savage" in
both the romantic paintings he produced and the book he published about his
travels. By exploring the life and work of Paul Kane, the documentary shows
how his art was shaped by his mentors, his patrons and his passion.
Click Play button to watch a short piece from the documentary
Narrated by the acclaimed North American
native actor, Tantoo Cardinal (Dances with Wolves), the documentary brings
to life Paul Kane’s epic journey and his later struggle as a society
artist using readings from his published book juxtaposed with dialogue
from the "real" Paul Kane. This narrative is illustrated with
spectacular scenics, dramatic re-creations, Kane’s romantic oil paintings
and the authentic pieces Kane sketched in the field. Inter-woven are interviews
and personal stories from a variety of people along Kane's route including
curators, historians, artists, and descendants of his own family and the
native people he sketched and painted.
Artwork courtesy: Royal Ontario
Museum, Toronto; Stark Museum of Art, Orange,
Bessai Co-Producer/Editor: Joan Prowse Executive Producer: Richard Nielsen Written by: Joan Prowse and John Bessai
A CineFocus Canada Production produced in association with Bravo! NewStyleArtsChannel,
APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network), Canadian Learning Television,
SCN, Knowledge Network and the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund. With
the participation of the Canadian Television Fund and Telefilm Canada.
NOW AVAILABLE FOR SALE INTERNATIONALLY
In English and French language versions
For more information and to order a videotape contact CineFocus Canada.